To: Kerry Blue Terrier Breeders, Owners, and Handlers
We have recently noticed a disturbing trend in the breed ring. A small but growing number of handlers, particularly professional handlers, are exhibiting Kerry Blue Terriers with coats that are blown out straight, with all signs of wave removed, and then trimmed extremely short (1/2” or less) on the body. While grooming and presentation in all breeds can and does change over time, the Board of the USKBTC considers this current fad unacceptable, as it makes it impossible to properly assess coat texture as called for in our Standard. Specifically, the Standard states, “Correct coat is important. It is to be soft, dense and wavy. A harsh, wire or bristle coat should be severely penalized. In show trim the body should be well covered but tidy, with the head (except for the whiskers) and the ears and cheeks clear.”
The Kerry Blue Terrier Illustrated Standard further elaborates on coat, describing it as: “Silky, soft, dense, with waves. The combination of these singularities of coat are unique to the Kerry Blue Terrier. The single coat should always be soft, plentiful, dense and wavy. Marcel waves should resemble finger waves, not curls or kinks. The texture is silky, not wooly or harsh. A fuzzy, cotton coat is equally as improper as a harsh coat…In show trim the body should be well covered but tidy, (coat should be [long enough to be] wavy and mold to the body like a well-fitting garment). On the head, (except for the whiskers), the throat, ears, and cheeks are clippered. The rump and back of tail are trimmed close or clipped. A Kerry Blue coat shaped into a “poodle pack” with every hair standing straight up, (stand away coat), showing no waves, is uncharacteristic and is a major fault.” (p. 15)
Grooming the body coat correctly, leaving the appropriate length to develop a wave, not only allows a judge to more accurately evaluate the coat’s true color and texture, but makes any foreign substances that may be used to enhance or disguise these very important breed characteristics easier to detect
. In the past, when AKC breed standards were based on a point system, coat and color in Kerry Blue Terriers merited a full 25 of the 100 available points. In our current standard, this is emphasized in no less than three different places: General Appearance (“correct coat and color are important”); Coat (“correct coat is important”); and Color (“color is important”).
We ask that Kerry owners adhere to our breed standard and leave sufficient coat on their dogs when they are being shown, refrain from blowing out or “packing” body coat, and not tolerate incorrect presentation by the handlers they employ to show their dogs.
Copies of both our current AKC breed standard and a PDF version of The Kerry Blue Terrier Illustrated Standard are available for free download through our Club’s web site to anyone who wishes to study them.
The USKBTC Board of Governors